Six years ago, I took a deep breath and moved from sunny California to Austria, and I can honestly say that it’s been an amazing journey! It hasn’t always been easy, and there are lots of things I look back on that I cried about and now I can smile about. This was an incredibly big step that I’m so happy I took, and I want to share a little more about the reasons why I started living in a different country.
I say this was the best decision I ever made, but I haven’t always been able to say that. The first year was really hard and I pat myself on the back for having pushed through. There were times when I wanted to give up because Austria is SO different compared to California.
I was living in San Clemente and working remotely for Runtastic (now known as adidasRuntastic). I was living with some amazing roommates in a place that was within running distance from the beach. The weather was like springtime every day. I was doing well financially with my remote job and working as an in-home personal trainer. It was the epitome of a California Dreamin’ lifestyle and I was living my best life.
At least, that was my perspective then. Now looking back, I can see all the amazing things that have happened since then and I’m so glad I didn’t stay comfortable.
I fell in love with someone who also worked for Runtastic, which is what brought me to Austria. I wouldn’t have moved just for love, but I also don’t think I would have moved abroad just for a job. The combination was there, and I decided that was the perfect time to make the leap. So I went for it.
Before I left, I sold EVERYTHING, including my car (it was my very first car!), packed everything I needed in two suitcases, and literally started over.
The First Year Was the Hardest
Before I left for Austria, I received a very valuable piece of advice: whatever you do, don’t decide you love it, hate it, or want to come back to California until it’s been at least a year.
Talk about life changing! I’m really glad I went into living in a different country with this bit of knowledge because I might have made a grave mistake later.
I’m pretty sure I cried everyday for the first six months. I felt like such a fish out of water: I didn’t speak ANY German. I couldn’t even go to the grocery store or the bank on my own. It was overwhelming because I had to ask for help a lot. I couldn’t find all my healthy superfoods, like cacao powder and Goji berries. My mom and I spent a fortune trying to ship things to me that I couldn’t find here. I missed kale and quinoa.
One of my greatest struggles was with my VitaMix, of all things. Long story short, I spent another small fortune shipping mine here, only to find out the power plug wasn’t compatible. And when I tried to use an adapter, I blew the power to my entire apartment.
I also struggled with finding me-time when working with new people in a new office. I had a good friend from back home pass away. I got sick a lot as I was adapting to a new environment. It was just A LOT.
I can look back with a smile now. Especially when I think that some of these little blips could have robbed me of this ah-ma-zing opportunity to live abroad.
Six Years of Living in a Different Country
Living in a different country has been nothing short of life changing. I recently celebrated my sixth year in Austria and I have no intention to move anywhere else right now. The first time I visited California after having moved abroad, I found a great sense of peace that everything was just as it always was. And I take comfort that even though I don’t want to now, I can always come back if I wanted to.